Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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A Confederate Girl’s Diary

September 30, 2012

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

Tuesday, September 30th.

It required very little persuasion to induce those gentlemen to stay to supper, the other evening, and it was quite late before they took their leave. Dr. Addison I was very much pleased with, and so were all the rest. Mr. M——, none of us fell desperately in love with. He is too nonchalant and indifferent, besides having a most peculiar pronunciation which grated harshly on my ears, and that no orthography could fully express. “Garb,” for instance, was distorted into “gairb,” “yard” into “ yaird,” “Airkansas,” and all such words that I can only imitate by a violent dislocation of my lower jaw that puts Anna into convulsions of laughter — only she would laugh the same if it was not funny. This Kentuckian pronunciation grates “hairshly” on my Southern ears. Miriam addressed herself exclusively to the Doctor, so I was obliged to confine my attention entirely to neglected Mr. M——, in which pious duty I was ably and charitably seconded by the General. Speaking of the bravery and daring displayed by the Southern soldiers during this war, Mr. M—— mentioned the dangerous spot he had seen us in the first day we went down to the “Airkansas” and said that, lying directly across the point from the Essex, they expected every instant to see one of her shells explode among us, and were very uneasy about our position, as we did not seem to know the danger. I asked him if he had observed anything peculiar among the dozen planters and overseers standing a short distance from us, when the Captain sent us word that our position was a very dangerous one, as they expected the Essex to open fire every instant, and we had best stand below the levee, higher up, where we would be safe from shells. “I noticed that before any of you understood your position, every man had disappeared as though by magic.” Now I had noticed that myself. When I turned, under shelter of the levee, our gallant planters were galloping off in the distance. While Ginnie and I looked and laughed, we suddenly found ourselves the sole objects on the horizon; the other girls were in the road below, going carelessly toward the carriage; so we followed, having lost sight of the brave representatives of Southern chivalry, being the last to leave the supposed field of danger. To my former remark, let me add that there is only one set who take better care for their safety than married women; and that set is composed exclusively of the “Home Guard.” Timid girls, either through ignorance or fun, compose the majority of the brave “men” that the volunteer service has not absorbed.

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